On Monday night, a 10-month-old French Bulldog puppy died on a United Airlines flight #1284 after a flight attendant forced the dog to spend a three-hour flight from Houston to New York in the overhead bin.
— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
Maggie Gremminger, a passenger on the flight, released this account of the events:
I was in seat 24A, the woman (mother) was 23C, with her young teenage daughter in seat 23B. The mother had a young daughter and a newborn.
I was sitting in the row behind the woman with the dog, and the gentleman next to me witnessed it all as well. We both overheard/saw the interaction between the flight attendant and the passenger.
I witnessed a United flight attendant instruct a woman to put her dog carrier with live dog in an overhead bin. The passenger adamantly pushed back, sharing verbally that her dog was in the bag. The flight attendant continued to ask the passenger to do it, and she eventually complied. By the end of the flight, the dog was dead. The woman was crying in the airplane aisle on the floor. A fellow passenger offered to hold the newborn while the mother was crying on the floor aisle with the dog. it was this out of body experience of grief.
But holy **** I don’t know how the hell this happened. The flight attendant wouldn’t even NEED to hear there was a dog in the carrier. She was right there looking at the TSA approved bag. (The dog carrier is the black on the ground in the photo. It is clearly a carrier with mesh, which makes me question how the flight attendant could say she didn’t know there was a dog)
I feel angry and powerless and regretful. I know clearly this was not an intent of anyone and yet that flight attendant is responsible for this. How were we to know that maybe there wasn’t a new ventilation system in those bins? It’s not our job to know this information.
I understand emotional distress in a different way right now. I can’t get the image out of my head of the woman on the floor of the airplane aisle, crying and holding that sweet dog.
Immediately after the flight landed, myself and another witness stayed to speak with various United employees. The flight attendant denied knowing it was a dog, but the man seated next to me said he heard the flight attendant respond to the passenger “you need to put your dog up here” – therefore admitting that she knew an animal was in there. Additionally, I’ve been in touch with United via private message on Twitter.
They publicly replied asking me to message them – once private messaging them I shared my confirmation # and flight info. They replied:
“We appreciate you reaching out with more information. Please know that we are in contact with the passenger and thank you for bringing this to our attention.”
I also was offered $75 in credit (along with the gentleman witness) for staying and working with them to share our recollection of events. We both refused the credit.
United has released the following statement:
This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.
This is the second time the airline has been in recent news because of the fate of an animal on one of their flights. Last year, a dog died while being shipped via their PetSafe cargo service.
For more on this story, go to CNN.com.